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RE: Prunning (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: jon_in_wessex on 11.30.2008 at 04:10 am in Antique Roses Forum

duchesse . . . it is confusing terminology. No roses bloom directly from old wood, but from new, short, flowering wood - laterals as Anita says - which comes from those buds on the previous years wood. The difference with repeat-flowering roses is that they have the ability to also produce laterals from the current years long canes which will also flower later in the same year.

With regard to 'flower power', say a new five foot cane on a shrub or climber has thirty or more buds capable of producing laterals. Only the last six or so are likely to do so, the rest are 'held in reserve' in case of damage and won't flower unless they become the nearest to the end of the cane. Now, it doesn't matter which group of six buds you chose to flower . . . if you prune away the first group, the next are now the ones that will flower. What gardeners have noticed over the centuries, however, is that by pruning to lower, stronger buds you will not only be leaving a stronger, shorter cane more able to support the weight of the huge OGR bloom sprays, but the laterals will produce more flowering buds and the flowers themselves tend to be of better size and quality. You end up with a mass of fat buds as Olga shows, on a self-supporting plant carrying more and larger flowers than had it been left 'large'. (Note also that Olga's example is not a once flowering OGR but a strong, repeating Modern Shrub. Exactly the same principles apply, the only difference is dealing with the second flowering.)

Don't ignore Olga's advice to cut out weak and twiggy growth from OGR's and Modern Shrubs. Let the plant direct all its energy into strong, viable canes, rather than trying to flower on every bud possible. After a few years of this your shrub can be bigger than it would have been had it been left unpruned - but only if you want it to be! I know it seems counter-intuitive at first to make something larger by cutting it down, but 'less' really is 'more'. That is why we do it.

I hope this isn't too basic, but that it helps understanding. It is very simple after a few years :)

Best wishes
Jon

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clipped on: 12.08.2008 at 11:08 am    last updated on: 12.08.2008 at 11:10 am